We are coming to the end of September, and today is the first day I have felt the temperature really drop.  I have my socks on and everything!

Now is THE time to start planning your protection for outdoor bunnies ( and piggies/ferrets if you have them outside too.)

 

Personally my favourite method ( if bringing them indoors isn't an option) is a garden shed, move their hutch in there to protect them as much as possible from the winter weather, and still giving them a protected area to play in. Perfect!

 

Hutch - outside A lot of people buy a tarpaulin and put that over the hutch and down the sides, but not secure it too much at the front so fresh air can get in, but protects it from much of the wind.

 

I would recommend getting the largest one you can, so you can double it and have it down the back of the hutch so water isn't getting trapped behind it or running off the tarp and on to the back of the hutch, and so it can be draped down the front too.

 

During winter, as it is doubled, I personally have sandwiched an old duvet in between the tarps, to provide and extra layer of insulation.

 

You could also add old carpets to the top to add layers of insulation, just make sure there are tarps protecting it from the weather, otherwise it gets wet and rots, along with keeping the hutch cold and damp.

 

Bedding areas - you can use snuggle safes to help bring the temp up, but in severe weather, they soon cool down. You can do a few things to help insulate the hutch, and give the snuggle safe a bit longer.

 

In the bedding area, If your bunny isn't a chewer, or you can hide edges well you can add old carpet to the bottom and sided of the bedding area before doing the following. You can add a card board box with a inch or twos gap around, top, bottom and sides of the bedding area. Here you can add straw ( it's got better insulating properties than hay) in the gaps, just like cavity wall insulation in your home. You could also stuff the gaps it with fleece blankets, just straw is cheaper.

 

Runs and play space - Think about adding paving slabs to part or all of the run if it is just grass. Grass stops growing in winter, so you may end up with a mud bath instead! Tarps can be added to the top of runs, to help protect the run from excessive rain or snow and provide a place to play. You could protect one ore two sided too to help protect the hutch and run from high winds. Add hay filled boxes/plantpots/plastic storage boxes so they can jump up off the cold floor, bunnies can also see this as an extra litter tray, so beware! Same with adding small tables / platforms etc

 

What to do when it gets bad - Early reports show we are in for the same as last year in terms of winters, cold, lots of snow and high winds - lots of people resorted to bringing their animals inside to protect them. You should also be prepared to do this too, sometimes it is the best way. But remember it may be for the rest of winter depending on how long the extreme weather goes on for.

 

Always check anything you add to their environment regularly for signs of chewing. These steps are meant to help protect your bunny, not put them in more danger.

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